I buried your face, someplace
by the side of the new road
so I would not trip over it
every morning or on evening strolls
still, I am helplessly drawn
to the scene of this crime
for fear of forgetting
the sum of your splendor
then there’s also the rain
that loosens the soil
to reveal a bewitching feature
awash with emotion
an eye, perhaps tender or
a pale, becalmed cheek
a mouth tight with reproach or
lips pursed in a deathless smile
other times you are inscrutable
worse, is when I seem to lose you
and pick at the earth like a scab
frantic, and faithful, like a dog.
I cannot bear
the perfumed air
of certain poets
where all is sweetness and verse until someone dares to speak without scenting their words first.
He plays with fire
up against the night sky
he looks like a man
juggling the stars
Now humbly bowing
the chains mystically dissolve
only the graceful dance remains
Slow dancing the figure twirls
like a Sufi in a skirt of flame
or some spiritual bullfighter
with his twisting cape ablaze
Until amid luminous circus wheels
the flame ritual dies out
trailing a numinous light
like esoteric script across the sky.
Yahia Lababidi is an Egyptian-American thinker and poet, nominated for a Pushcart Prize by World Literature Today magazine. He has been featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, and in the Guardian, among other places.
Lababidi's first book SIGNPOSTS TO ELSEWHERE (Jane Street Press) was selected as a 2008 Book of the Year by The Independent (UK). "Signposts" (available as an autographed paperback only from the publishers) was followed by well-received collections of literary and cultural essays, TRIAL BY INK: From Nietzsche to Belly Dancing (available electronically from Common Ground Publishing); poetry, FEVER DREAMS; and a series of literary dialogues with Alex Stein, THE ARTIST AS MYSTIC: Conversations with Yahia Lababidi. His latest is a new collection of short poems, BARELY THERE (Wipf and Stock, 2013).
Lababidi's writing has been translated into several languages, including: Arabic, Hebrew, Slovak, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Swedish. Otherwise, several video-poems based on his work, have been shown at film festivals, worldwide, while Lababidi has participated in international poetry festivals throughout the USA, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
He is the only contemporary Arab writer featured in the encyclopedia: Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, and the youngest poet included in the best-selling US college textbook, Literature: an Introduction to Reading and Writing (10th edition). Lababidi was chosen as a Juror for the 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature - a biennial award widely considered to be the most prestigious international literary prize after the Nobel Prize in Literature.
For more information, please, visit: http://www.pw.org/content/yahia_lababidi